Ice house graffiti
The old ice house at 91 Riverside Dr., a big factory in the early 1900s, had, in its derelict years before it was demolished in 2013, housed vagabonds who produced artistic graffiti. This 2007 photo by Henry Neufeld shows the back of the building, by the tracks. An upstairs “apartment” wall bore the stenciled slogan, “Every abandoned building a gallery, every wall a canvas.” Its proximity to the railroad made it a hobo haven. In its heyday, the Asheville Ice & Storage Co. advertised “pure Mt Mitchell ice” and offered cold storage, with a second plant on the site of present-day Zoe’s Kitchen in Biltmore. In the 1910s, it had a virtual monopoly on ice sales, buying wholesale and selling retail. There often were challenges on measured weights, though allowances were claimed to have been made for melting. On Aug. 5, 1919, the directors of the Asheville Ice Co. had to explain to consumers that shortages were due to increased demand because of summer visitors and the cessation of building activity during World War I; but expansion was underway. The city purchased the property after an Oct. 2012 murder there; and awaits development of the River Arts District for further action.
--Rob Neufeld, RNeufeld@charter.net, @WNC_chronicler